How is the disciplinary procedure conducted?
In three phases:
Investigation and proceedings by Commissioner
Appointment of the Commissioner conducting the investigation is set in Regulation 149 of the Regulations of the Registry as follows:
“At the request of the Presidency, the Registrar shall assist in the appointment of the Commissioner.”
While article 33 (1-2) of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel specifies the Commissioner’s function:
“1. A Commissioner responsible for investigating complaints of misconduct in accordance with this chapter shall be appointed for four years by the Presidency. The Commissioner shall be chosen from amongst persons with established competence in professional ethics and legal matters.
2. The Commissioner shall not be eligible for re-appointment. A Commissioner who is involved in an investigation when his or her mandate expires shall continue to conduct such an investigation until it is concluded.”
Art 1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel provides a definition of Counsel,
“This Code shall apply to defence counsel, counsel acting for States, amici curiae and counsel or legal representatives for victims and witnesses practising at the International Criminal Court hereinafter referred to as “counsel”.”
Misconduct is defined in article 31 (a-c) of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel as follows:
“Counsel commits misconduct when he or she:
(a) Violates or attempts to violate any provisions of this Code, the Statute, the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and the Regulations of the Court or of the Registry in force imposing a substantial ethical or professional duty on him or her;
(b) Knowingly assists or induces another person to commit any misconduct, referred to in paragraph (a) of this article, or does so through the acts of another person; or
(c) Fails to comply with a disciplinary decision rendered pursuant to this chapter.”
Filing a complaint of misconduct is described in article 34 (1-5) of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel:
“1. Complaints against counsel regarding misconduct as referred to in articles 31 and 32 of this Code may be submitted to the Registry by:
(a) The Chamber dealing with the case;
(b) The Prosecutor; or
(c) Any person or group of persons whose rights or interests may have been affected by the alleged misconduct.
2. The complaint shall be made in writing or, if the complainant is unable to do so, orally before a staff member of the Registry. It shall identify the complainant and the counsel against whom the complaint is made and shall describe in sufficient detail the alleged misconduct.
3. The Registrar shall transmit the complaint to the Commissioner.
4. The Registrar may, on his or her own initiative, make complaints to the Commissioner regarding the misconduct referred to in articles 31 and 32 of this Code.
5. All complaints shall be kept confidential by the Registry.”
Preliminary procedures are set in article 37 (1-2) of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel as follows:
“1. If the complaint filed meets the requirements in article 34 of this Code, the Commissioner shall forward it to counsel subject to the disciplinary procedure, who shall submit a response within sixty days from the date the complaint is forwarded.
2. The response shall indicate whether the alleged misconduct has been or is the subject of a disciplinary procedure before the national authority. If so, it shall include:
(a) The identity of the national authority deciding on the alleged misconduct; and
(b) A certified communication by the national authority stating the alleged facts that are the basis of the disciplinary procedure before it.”
Rights of counsel subject to the disciplinary procedure are stipulated in article 40 (1-5) of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel as follows:
“1. Counsel subject to the disciplinary procedure shall be entitled to assistance from other counsel.
2. Counsel shall have the right to remain silent before the Disciplinary Board, which may draw any inferences it deems appropriate and reasonable from such silence in the light of all the information submitted to it.
3. Counsel shall have the right to full disclosure of the information and evidence gathered by the Commissioner as well as the Commissioner’s report.
4. Counsel shall be given the time required to prepare his or her defence.
5. Counsel shall have the right to question, personally or through his or her counsel, any person called by the Disciplinary Board to testify before it.”
Article 39 (1-5) of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel describes the Disciplinary procedure in the Commissioner’s (initial) phase as follows:
“39(1) The Commissioner conducting the investigation may dismiss a complaint without any further investigation if he or she considers on the basis of the information at his or her disposal that the allegation of misconduct is unfounded in fact or in law. He or she shall notify the complainant accordingly.
39(2) Should the Commissioner consider otherwise, he or she shall promptly investigate the counsel’s alleged misconduct and decide either to submit a report to the Disciplinary Board or to bring the procedure to an end.
39(3) The Commissioner shall take into consideration all evidence, whether oral, written or any other form, which is relevant and has probative value. He or she shall keep all information concerning the disciplinary procedure confidential.
39(4) The Commissioner may try to find an amicable settlement if he or she deems it appropriate. The Commissioner shall report the outcome of any such efforts to reach an amicable settlement to the Disciplinary Board, which may take it into consideration. Any amicable settlement shall be without prejudice to the competence or powers of the Disciplinary Board under this Code.
39(5) The report of the Commissioner shall be submitted to the Disciplinary Board.”
Investigation and proceedings before Disciplinary Board (DB) for counsel
Article 36 (1-12) of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel regulates the composition and management of the Disciplinary Board; for more details see/click here.
The permanent and alternate members of the Disciplinary Board referred to in article 36 of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel are elected pursuant to the Regulation 147 (a-n) of the Regulations of the Registry. Further details are available here.
Upon submission of the Commissioner’s report together with all gathered evidence to the Disciplinary Board, the Disciplinary Board conducts further thorough examinations and conveys a public hearing as specified in article 39 (6-8) of the Code:
“39(6) The Disciplinary Board hearing shall be public. However, the Disciplinary Board may decide to hold a hearing or parts of it in closed session, in particular to safeguard the confidentiality of information in the report of the Commissioner or to protect victims and witnesses.
39(7) The Commissioner and the counsel subject to the disciplinary procedure shall be called and heard. The Disciplinary Board may also call and hear any other person deemed useful for the establishment of the truth.
39(8) In exceptional cases, where the alleged misconduct is of such a nature as to seriously prejudice the interests of justice, the Commissioner may lodge an urgent motion with the Chamber before which the counsel who is the subject of the complaint is appearing, so that it may, as appropriate, declare a temporary suspension of such counsel.”
Article 41 (1-4) of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel provides the delivering and notification of Decisions by the Disciplinary Board as follows:
“1. The Disciplinary Board may conclude the procedure finding no misconduct on the basis of the evidence submitted to it or finding that counsel subject to disciplinary procedure committed the alleged misconduct.
2. The decision shall be made public. It shall be reasoned and issued in writing.
3. The decision shall be notified to counsel subject to the disciplinary procedure and to the Registrar.
4. When the decision is final, it shall be published in the Official Journal of the Court and transmitted to the national authority.”
Article 42 (1-3) of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel provides for Sanctions the following guidelines:
“1. When misconduct has been established, the Disciplinary Board may impose one or more of the following sanctions:
(b) Public reprimand with an entry in counsel’s personal file;
(c) Payment of a fine of up to €30,000;
(d) Suspension of the right to practise before the Court for a period not exceeding two years; and
(e) Permanent ban on practising before the Court and striking off the list of counsel.
2. The admonishment may include recommendations by the Disciplinary Board.
3. The costs of the disciplinary procedure shall be within the discretion of the Disciplinary Board.”
Articles 43.1 and 43.2 of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel stipulate that:
“1. Sanctioned counsel and the Commissioner shall have the right to appeal the decision of the Disciplinary Board on factual or legal grounds.
2. The appeal shall be notified to the secretariat of the Disciplinary Board within thirty days from the day on which the decision has been delivered.”
Proceedings before Disciplinary Appeals Board (DAB) for counsel
The Disciplinary Appeals Board comprises five members. Article 44 (1-12) of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel specifies the current Composition and management of the Disciplinary Appeals Board (link to Art 44 of the Code)
Election of the members of the Disciplinary Appeals Board are defined in Regulation 148, Regulations of the Registry as follows:
“The election of the members of the Disciplinary Appeals Board referred to in article 44, paragraphs 4 (b) and 5 of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel shall be governed, mutatis mutandis, by the provisions applying to the election of the permanent and alternate members of the Disciplinary Board under regulation 147.”
Article 43.1 of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel provides that
“Sanctioned counsel and the Commissioner shall have the right to appeal the decision of the Disciplinary Board on factual or legal grounds.”
The timeframe for filling an appeal is provided in article 43.2 of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel as follows:
“The appeal shall be notified to the Secretariat of the Disciplinary Board within thirty (30) days from the day on which the decision has been delivered.”
According to the article 44.4 of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel
“The Disciplinary Appeals Board shall decide on the appeal according to the procedure followed before the Disciplinary Board.”
How do I file a complaint of misconduct?
(See article 34 of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel)
Please contact the Secretariat of the Disciplinary Organs for counsel, which provides administrative support to the Disciplinary Organs for counsel, at arm's length from the Registry. See Code of Professional Conduct for counsel (ICC-ASP/4/32) (articles 36(12) and 44(12) and of the Rules and Procedures of the Disciplinary Board and the Disciplinary Appeals Board (articles 21 and 22).
PO Box 19519
2500 CM The Hague
Email: [email protected]
RESULTS OF THE 2022 ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF THE ICC DISCIPLINARY BOARD AND DISCIPLINARY APPEALS BOARD
In accordance with articles 36 and 44 of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel (ICC-ASP/4/Res.1), the members of the Disciplinary Board and the representatives of counsel on the Disciplinary Appeals Board of the ICC are appointed following the second elections organised by the Registry in this regard. By way of letter dated 17 June 2022, the Registry began the process of elections by informing national bar associations, independent representative bodies of counsel or legal associations, as well as all lawyers admitted to the Court’s List of Counsel that elections for the disciplinary organs of the Court would be taking place and inviting announcements of candidacy by 15 September 2022.
On 17 October 2022, the list of nominees and the relevant instructions were sent to all counsel on the List of Counsel in accordance with regulations 147(d), and 148 of the Regulations of the Registry, indicating that their ballots must be sent to the Counsel Support Section no later than 29 November 2022. The Section received one hundred and twenty six (126) ballots.
On 14 December 2022, the representatives from the Division of Judicial Services, the Counsel Support Section and the International Criminal Court Bar Association met to count the votes sent by eligible voters (List of Counsel).
The Panel unanimously declared that of the one hundred and twenty six (126) votes received, one (1) was post-marked after the deadline of 29 November 2022 and therefore was considered void and excluded from the vote count; and that 44 envelopes did not include the identification document as required by the procedure. Thus, in total 45 ballots were not counted for reasons of nullity.
After the final count of the 81 valid votes, the elected members are delegated to the disciplinary bodies of the Court in accordance with the following scheme:
- Three (3) Members of the Disciplinary Board
- Two permanent members
RABESANDRATANA, Elisabeth (France)
ASSELINEAU, Vincent (France)
- One Alternate Member
EDWARDS, Iain Frederick (United Kingdom, Canada)
- Two permanent members
- Three (3) Members of the Disciplinary Appeals Board
- Two permanent members
LEVY, Michel (France)
TSILONIS, Victor (Greece)
- One Alternate Member
GUERRERO AGUIRRE, Freddy Gustavo (Spain, Peru)
- Two permanent members
The Disciplinary Board:
- Mr. HAMPTON, Nigel Q.C. (New Zealand) (2018-2022)
- Mr. ROSENTHAL, Etienne, (France) (2022-2028) assumes his functions upon expiration of Ms VAN DER VOORT, Karlijn term (Art 36.7 of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel)
Mr. LAROCHELLE, Philippe, (Canada) (2022-2026)
One alternate member:
Mr. TSILONIS, Victor, Greece (2018-2022)
The Disciplinary Appeals Board:
Three members elected by all counsel entitled to practice before the Court:
- Mr. DILLEN, Patrick A., Belgium (2018-2022)
- Mr. WAGEMAKERS, Marcus, The Netherlands (2018-2022)
One alternate member:
Mr. MAMADOU LAMINE Diarrassouba, Côte d'Ivoire (2018-2022)
The Presidency of the International Criminal Court appointed the Commissioner responsible for investigating complaints within the scope of disciplinary procedures under Chapter 4 of the Code of Professional Conduct for counsel, and Alternate Commissioner to i) replace the Commissioner if and when she is unable to act, and ii) act as an informal interlocutor to the Commissioner in order to support her in the performance of her duties.
Ms. TURNER, Diane Q.C. ( Canada) (2019-2023)
Mr. WAMSER, Ingo (Germany) (2019-2023)
Disciplinary Board and Disciplinary Appeals Board – 2006 Election results: English, Français
The appointment of a new Commissioner – 2006: English, Français
Disciplinary Board and Disciplinary Appeals Board – 2010 Election results: English, Français
The appointment of a new Commissioner – 2010: English, Français
Disciplinary Board and Disciplinary Appeals Board – 2014 Election results: English, Français
The appointment of a new Commissioner – 2014: English, Français
Disciplinary Board and Disciplinary Appeals Board – 2018 Election results: English, Français
The appointment of a new Commissioner – 2018: English, Français
Disciplinary Board Decisions:
- 28 November 2011, Disciplinary Complaint against Mr. Joseph Keta: English, Français
- 18 June 2012, Disciplinary Complaint against Mr. Joseph Keta: English, Français
- 20 July 2012, Application for Protective Measures Filed by Redress Trust: English, Français
- 11 July 2013, Disciplinary Complaint against Mr. Emmanuel Altit: English, Français
- 9 July 2010, Disciplinary Complaint against Mr. Hervé Diakiese: English, Français
- 30 March 2017, Disciplinary Complaint against Mr. Paul Djunga: English, Français
- 6 September 2017, Disciplinary Complaint against Mr. Paul Djunga: English, Français
- 19 December 2019, Disciplinary Complaint against Mr. Goran Sluiter: English, Français
- 6 July 2020, Disciplinary Complaint against Mr. Jean Logo Dhengachu ("the Investigator"): English, Français
- 1 December 2021, Disciplinary Complaint against Mr. Cyril Laucci: English, Français
Disciplinary Appeals Board Decisions
E-mail: [email protected]
ICC Counsel Support Section
P.O. Box 19 19519
2500 CM, The Hague (The Netherlands)
Phone/Fax: +31 (0)70 515 8787/+31 (0)70 515 8555